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I've been sending probes into deep space, but once I get so far(I use Time Warp), the command pod has no electric charge and the stage lock is locked(pink). I have solar arrays on my probe, but it says they are retracted and I don't know if/how I can extend them. Is this a bug, or do I need to design a better ship that incorporates electricity better. Also, the m/s speed and elevation are locked after this "malfunction" happens, unless I time warp again. Possibly unrelated, sometimes my stages freeze, causing my ship to become completely unresponsive, leaving the rockets at whatever throttle they were at, then spinning out of control and crashing. Any help would be wonderful.

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Someone else had a very similar problem to the one that you're having right now. Basically, your probe body is running out of juice some times. But there seems to be more to that in your case.

So the first part is rather easy to resolve. Once you're in orbit, right click on the solar panels and then click the extend button. When in sunlight, this will provide power. You can also set up action groups (which are triggered by the number keys) to toggle your solar panels. This is done from the VAB or SPH. It's a good idea to also have some battery power too, as you're not always going to be in the sun. Another option is to completely forgo solar power, and use RTGs instead.

As for you second problem, it seems that either you built your rocket asymmetrically, causing it to spin, break up, and then explode, or you're using too much thrust, causing it to break up, spin, and then explode. Obviously, ending in explosions is not a good thing in this context. The solution to both problems is basically the same: use the symmetry tool when building, and add enough bracing using struts. In fact, struts are so light it's usually worth it to over-do it on the struts.

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The weight limit of struts is minimal. Physics cost, however, may be more than your computer can handle, depending on how beefy it is. –  Frank Apr 16 '13 at 0:39
    
@fbueckert: Good point. I don't usually consider part count until it gets up into the hundreds. –  MBraedley Apr 16 '13 at 1:00
    
Thanks for the help! I'll give it another go around. I'm still really new to this game, so I'm learning by a lot of trial and error. I've lost a lost of brave Kerbals. –  InsulinMan Apr 16 '13 at 3:19
    
If you're wary of losing Kerbals, unmanned probes are the way to go for testing :) –  jwenting Apr 16 '13 at 9:17

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